We’ve written a lot on this blog about all the free stuff we find in the neighborhood – curb alerts, Freecycle, Craig’s list — but nothing beats the free stuff you find during Alexandria’s Spring Clean-up when residents can throw out pretty much anything. For people who like to refurbish, upcycle, and turn trash into treasures, it’s like a month-long carnival with surprises around every corner.
Trash day eve is when you’ll find some fresh picks and this past Friday night, people were already starting to put out their stuff. En route to pick up a pizza for dinner from Del Ray Pizzeria, here’s what I saw.
First, terra cotta pots of all sizes, neatly stacked. They’d be fine to use with their weathered patina, or they could be covered with chalkboard or spray paint for a clean look. Those smaller ones are practically new.
Along Bellefonte, I found these great Adirondack chairs. I especially like the minty green one on top and I pictured myself relaxing in the chair on my back porch.
This pile of wood scraps was right next door. I never have wood scraps when I need them, so I’m kicking myself for not taking a few, you know, for wood-working emergencies.
Turning onto Howell, I hit the motherload. First, a perfectly good wooden kid-sized table and chairs and picnic table.
Across the street, a toddler’s bike which I could’ve taken to VeloCity Bike Co-op for a check-up before letting Calvin ride it.
And, an outdoor shower. Ok, this I definitely don’t need, but it sure was amusing to see.
It took every ounce of strength not to take these items home with me. I have a bad track record of finding things on the street and then letting them take up space in the basement for months on end. I’m hoping these went home with a nice family rather than to a landfill.
The next morning was trash day. By 8 a.m., while I drank my morning coffee, the first wave of trash trucks started to roll into the neighborhood. A second arrived about 30 minutes later.
“I have to get out there and see what I can find,” I exclaimed in a panic to my husband Mark. As he muttered something about tetanus, I put on my running shoes. I’m all about decluttering these days so I was determined not to take anything home. Still, I had to see what was there.
The streets were clear in my immediate neighborhood, but as I headed south on Mt. Vernon Ave. I discovered untouched territory. Handsome suitcases like this one on Luray go for a good chunk of change at vintage stores.
I looped back north on Mt. Vernon Ave. until I hit Commonwealth, peeking down each side road looking for something like this, a pile patiently waiting in the distance.
That one proved to be a dud, but I found this basketball hoop in near pristine condition…
…and yet another picnic table just in need of a wash.
The oddity of the day was this hot tub chopped in half on Commonwealth. Though that’s definitely garbage, the old door propped up to it is quite nice.
In the distance I heard the trash trucks loading, crushing and churning so I knew I needed to speed up. I zig-zagged across streets, up and down the hills between Commonwealth and Russell, passing homes I’ve never seen before. In the end, I’m happy to report I came home empty-handed but just seeing what was out there and imagining what I could do with it made it all worthwhile.